Sunday, 8 March 2009

Time for some opinions

I've been busy reading recently and catching up on music so I thought I would take this blog post to give you some opinions on the music I've just got hold of and a book I've just finished.

No Line on the Horizon by U2. The first time I heard it I really had nothing good to say about it: maudlin, death by mid tempo, lacking focus, really poor production, ersatz, trying to hard to be clever, is that your idea of a melody? Second time I actually picked up that a few songs differed in tempo but I still am not convinced. It all seems to be a bit of a blur as one song blends into another. Maybe this will be a grower and won't let the casual listener in but that is on the evidence so far the most charitable conclusion. I have read some gushing reviews on the web which I have to disagree with. I think I'm also annoyed that the hype coming from the band seems to be so at odds with the final album. If this is the their third masterpiece then they are doing a good job of making it difficult to spot.

I'm not sure how I got into the Killers, I think I bought their first CD on a whim one day in Bristol after work and played it over and over again. It was, and is that good. I think their second album was even better if maybe not as memorable. By that I mean it lacked the big immediate classics of the first album but is still a good listen. Now I am catching up with their new album. I have to say that this is an odd one. It beats U2 by a mile but at times it sounds like most of the tunes (and especially the rhythm parts) are the pre programed tunes that come on a cheap Casio keyboard. This is the key to this album they seem to be going towards dance music and in the vein mined by the Scissor Sisters. I kind of miss the guitars. However it does work. Curious.

Like the Killers, Franz Ferdinand seem to be turning more dancey in their third effort and while I am not a massive fan this is probably as good as the Killers.

I am becoming aware as I write this that somehow all of these albums have failed in gaining my instant acceptance. That they were all downloaded at the same time and listened to on the bus backwards and forwards to work over the course of a day or so may mean my views are more linked to my world than their worth. Or it may mean that I am right in my opinions. You listen to them and you decide.

Which brings me to Barack Obama's book. Hmm what to make of it. Well here it is: how can a man who claims to want to change so much of the political landscape around him sound so like the politicians he says he wants to change? Only when he spoke about race did I get the feeling his passion took flight and I found myself wading through chapter after chapter where he spoke of his desire to be different and then marched himself through every imaginable focus group tick box there was.

The good news is that today has been a beautiful day in Helsinki so I took the boss and my mother in law for a walk over the frozen sea. We were not alone as many Helsinki residents took the opportunity to ski, walk, run, ice fish under lovely spring skies. This is one of the reasons we came north to do this and to be out under blue skies on days like this. It may be hard to get through the dark winter months here in Finland but you feel it is worth it on days like today. Maybe I should go give that U2 album another listen?

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